Work ON your business not only IN you business
That was the opening for a workshop which took place last week at the WBII. Michiel Poppink of Syntens was on hand to share with us how, in order to innovate and move our businesses forward we should spend more time ON the presence, direction, image of our businesses as well as taking care of business. Syntens is an independent initiative supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to stimulate growth and innovation within the SME sector. Their services are offered free of charge, and thanx to the efforts of Suzy and Lisa they made themselves available to us. Shame really that not more of our members took advantage of this opportunity.
For, an opportunity it was. Following the presentation of short clip to be found on YouTube it was clear that the times they are a changing, and unless we keep up, review, revamp our strategies – we will miss boats and opportunities. Innovation is change, and change means taking a critical look at what is happening around us and how we, with our businesses, are taking advantage of this. Are we being left behind?
Michiel did not profess to have answers. In fact the process he led us through proved that the answers are here, among ourselves and our own members. Each one of us did the well known SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and put them in a matrix which helped illuminate the actions required – for each of us. The conclusion was, make sure your actions, way forward is SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound.
What was particularly amazing was to witness the synergy created among the members present. The answers, if you will, came from each one of us – not simply for ourselves, but more importantly for one another. It is, after-all, easier to think out of the box when you are in a different one to the business next to you. Such was the enthusiasm of the evening that we managed to convince Michiel to return to guide us through the subsequent stages of shifting our view, working on our businesses and ensuring that innovation is not left to the others!
The event confirmed for me, once more, that the WBII is a font of knowledge, inspiration and opportunity. Syntens as such would not be available to many of our members in and of themselves, since many of us are ‘too small’ so to speak – but as part of a collective and as a result of the initiatives taken by Suzy and Lisa a world is open to us. Through the WBII we have access to so many things – not the least of which is the knowledge, experience and ideas from among our members.
I would encourage more of you to participate, contribute and take advantage of your membership – the benefits will not simply come to you – they need to be grabbed.
Deborah Valentine,
a hand in The Hague